HARARE – The sexually-transmitted disease, gonorrhea, has become a drug-resistant “superbug” and doctors have been struggling to devise new ways of treating it, a leading sexual health expert said.
The disease, which involves inflammatory discharge from the urethra or vagina, has been added on to the list of infections, viruses and bacteria that have become global health threats.
“Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are back to hound us. When you get infected, the doctor now has to juggle around medicines to prescribe to a patient suffering from gonorrhea,” Stanley Midzi from the World Health Organisation told journalists at a training workshop on anti-microbial resistance (AMR) on Tuesday.
“Some of the strains can only be tackled by combination of tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, flouroquinolones, macrolides and cephalosporins. There is no one cure anymore, there is nothing that can treat it and sadly, there is nothing in the pipeline.”
Strains of the Neisseria gonorrhea bacteria were starting to become resistant and could soon become impervious to all current antibiotic treatment options.
Other diseases which are drug resistant, as first line treatments are no longer effective are; malaria, tuberculosis as well as other opportunistic infections of Aids, resulting in increase in the cost of care. This comes as drug resistance also known as anti-microbial resistance has become a major health threat predicted to result in 10 million deaths per year globally by 2050.
Anti-microbial resistance occurs when organisms that cause disease are no longer responsive to drugs that previously were effective in combating them.
Meanwhile, health experts have warned Zimbabweans against buying any medicine from the streets as they put themselves on risk of developing a resistance to drugs.